Breakouts come in many shapes and sizes, whether or not they can be sustained remains to be seen. After taking a step forward in the second half of 2018, Ketel Marte carried over the gains in 2019 hitting a career high 32 home runs with a robust .329/.389/.592 slash line over 144 games. Primed to cement his fantasy status in 2020, Marte's power disappeared. He injured his wrist early in September, which does not account for his lack of power prior to this forcing fantasy owners into a conundrum about how to trust Marte for the upcoming season.

Overall, Marte played 45 games last year with 19 runs, two home runs, 17 RBI and a stolen base with a .287/.323/.409 slash line in 195 plate appearances. Beneath the power outage, Marte made some gains reducing his swinging strike percentage to 5.6 while increasing his contact rate to 87.5 percent and his Z-Contact (in the strike zone) to a robust 93.3 percent.

According to Statcast, Marte recorded 163 batted ball events with six barrels (3.7 percent), an 89.2 MPH average exit velocity and 40.5 percent hard hit rate. His expected statistics do not portend too much bad luck last year with a .265 expected batting average (xBA), .379 expected slugging (xSLG), and .295 expected weighted on-base average (xwOBA).

Marte's zone swing percentage on this site resulted in a drop by over nine percent but his zone contact rose by 2.1 percent to 90.8 for the season. Once again, Marte proved patient in his at-bats with elite contact skills but a dearth of power. His swing percentage remained stable but Marte reduced his whiff percentage by 3.6 percentage points. Delving into his batted ball results, a tradeoff of barrels for topped percentage also cut into Marte's power total for 2020. Before giving up hope, Marte hit 34 home runs the last two seasons with 22 of them qualifying as no-doubters (out of any major league park) representing a 64.7 no-doubt percentage.

In terms of percentile ranks, Marte finished 98th amongst his peers in whiff percentage and in the 99th percentile in strikeout rate. Recalling Marte's breakout started in earnest in the second half of 2018, here's a chart showing his rolling hard hit percentages for his career, but note the spikes from July 2018 going forward:

It feels like it's too soon to give up on a hitter with borderline elite discipline metrics entering his power peak. Marte sits on the precipice of his Age-27 season. Even if he cannot return to his 32-home run mark of 2019, trying to discern how he fares in 2021 with a discounted price point creates a potential buying opportunity on a player who burned many last season. Expanding his sample starting with where Marte sowed the seeds in the second half of 2018:

Taking these splits and prorating them to a 155-game season, it yields the following line for Marte:

?      155 games, 553 plate appearances, 74 runs, 21 home runs, 70 RBI, eight stolen bases; .314/.374/.526, 8 BB%, 13.4 K%

File this in the memory bank when reading his projections at the finale of the profile. However, if one's willing to give a player a partial pass for 2020 due to its volatility, and in this case, the knowledge Marte played through at least one injury issue, his numbers from the second half of 2018 through the end of the 2019 appear a bit different when viewing the same game sampling:

?      155 games, 630 plate appearances, 90 runs, 27 home runs, 86 RBI, ten stolen bases; .320/.385/.559, 9 BB%, 14 K%

For a visual on his spray chart from July 19th, 2018 until the end of 2019, check out below courtesy of Statcast illustrating all of his line drives and fly balls:

For a bonus, here's his radial chart displaying exit velocity and launch angle:

Depending on how one views Marte may affect which group from above one believes more in and his projection sets show variance in terms of power:

?      Marte 2021 THE BAT X projection: 149 games, 672 plate appearances, 96 runs, 26 home runs, 92 RBI, eight stolen bases; .294/.354/.498, 8 BB%, 12.9 K%, .204 ISO, .362 wOBA

?      Marte 2021 ZiPS projection: 153 games, 635 plate appearances, 79 rus, 19 home runs, 69 RBI, seven stolen bases; .288/.343/.478

?      Marte 2021 ATC projection: 143 games, 625 plate appearances, 84 runs, 21 home runs, 76 RBI, six stolen bases; .291/.347/.482, 7.3 BB%, 12.8 K%, .191 ISO, .351 wOBA

Personally I’m betting on a Marte rebound season buoyed by entering his power peak with the knowledge once a player displays a skill, he owns it. Many may be swayed by his struggles last season but if he consolidated his discipline and flashes the power early in Spring, his price tag may rise appreciably in March. Until then, it can be our secret. Target Marte with confidence and my analysis aligns with THE BAT X on this one.

Statistical Credits:

THE BAT X courtesy of Derek Carty

ZiPS courtesy of Dan Szymborski

ATC courtesy of Ariel Cohen